Starting on April 18, 2020 in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia, a 51-year old man perpetrated the nation’s deadliest mass shooting in history, killing 22 and injuring more.
I say “starting” because the incident ran almost 13 hours – from 2230 on Saturday night until the shooter was killed by police at 1126 the following Sunday. During that time, the shooter traveled through five or six small communities in the north central part of the island province, with all but the first two of his victims apparently selected at random, creating 16 separate crime scenes and burning down the homes of some of his victims.
This is the most inexplicable aspect of the whole event.Can you imagine a shooter carrying on a one-man shooting spree just about anywhere in rural America for that long before someone stands up and stops the bastard?
Now, it is true that Canada has very restrictive gun laws. Law-abiding citizens must obtain a license from the Canadian government to even acquire or possess a firearm. The license requires completion of safety training, background checks, interviews of character witnesses, and a dense and changing web of regulations defining classes of non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited firearms. A first-time applicant for a permit will wait a minimum of one month for approval, and has to renew his permit every five years. Transporting or transferring firearms requires additional permits. Concealed or open carry by a civilian is rarely approved except in rural areas for defense against dangerous wildlife. The good news (?) is that if you’ve complied with all these legal restrictions and have a gun in your home, self-defense with a firearm might be considered legal if – in the aftermath – you can prove that your life was in danger. Subjects of the United Kingdom, at least, must be envious.
One might think that somewhere in these six villages of rural Nova Scotia there were a few legally owned firearms, but no one resisted this killer with deadly force. Could this be as much a question of culture as capability?
Granted, there were other circumstances in play here – the shooter wore a police (RCMP) uniform and drove a car that resembled a police cruiser, which no doubt allayed suspicion; and the authorities did not issue a province-wide emergency alert although some notices did go out over Twitter and Facebook. But still.
There is a psychology we all know, that relies on government to keep us safe and secure. It is not uncommon even in the U.S., but this Nova Scotia mass shooting is a sad example of its shortcomings. It is simply and undeniably true that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away.”
Distributed security means, among other things, taking responsibility for your own safety, at the very least in that critical gap between the appearance of a lethal threat and the possibility of intervention by law enforcement.
And for a sad footnote, the response of the Canadian government to this incident was for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce that he will now, by executive order, ban the ownership and sale of “assault weapons,” which will be subject to a buyback program.
The shooter in Nova Scotia used a pistol, which he was already legally prohibited from possessing, as a result of an assault conviction in 2002. Don’t look for logic in any of this – it is how “gun control” works: never let a crisis go to waste. Again we see how vital the Second Amendment is to our freedom and self-reliance; and how vigilant we must remain.